Nobel Prize in Physics Recipient. Albert Michelson received notoriety as the 1907 Nobel Prize recipient, becoming the first American to receive this coveted award in the sciences. According to the Nobel Prize Committee, he was awarded this honor "for his optical precision instruments and the spectroscopic and metrological investigations carried out with their aid.” The 1907 Nobel Prize presentation ceremony was canceled with the death of King Oscar II of Sweden two days earlier. Born in Kingdom of Prussia, in what is today Poland, his father was a Jewish merchant and the family immigrated to the United States when he was two years old settling in Virginia City, Nevada. Appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to the United States Naval Academy in 1869, he began his experiments into the speed of light while there. He taught at the Naval Academy before visiting the Universities of Berlin and Heidelberg, and the College de France and École Polytechnique in Paris. He resigned from the Navy, returning to the United States in 1883 to accept an appointment as Professor of Physics in the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, Ohio. He was later a professor at Clark University and the University of Chicago, where he founded the department of physics, and in 1925 he was appointed to the first of the Distinguished Service Professorships. He resigned in 1929 for a post at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California. He was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1970. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received are the Matteucci Medal from Italy in 1904; Copley Medal from the British Royal Society in 1907; Elliot Cresson Medal from the Franklin Institute in 1912; Draper Medal from National Academy of Sciences in1916; Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute, the Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1923; and the Duddell Medal from Great Britain in 1929. He was member of various professional societies and received a dozen honorary degrees from universities in the United States and Europe. He married twice and had two sons and four daughters. Michelson was author Harriet Lane Levy's first cousin.
Bio by: Garver Graver
Margaret McLean Heminway Shepherd
1857–1939 (m. 1877)